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Reader Question:

Help! My massage therapist is about to head to the grocery store to buy all of the carpet cleaners she can in order to attempt to remove a massage oil mishap on our carpet! What should we do? Our carpet is really nice (and new) and I don’t want to ruin it!

– Thanks, Dr. Allie from Denver , CO


Dear Allie,

Stop that therapist! Don’t let her run out the door yet and waste your money or her time! Below is how you should treat this stain. First, the most important thing is to NOT use multiple cleaners on top of each other when you don’t like the result of the first one. This can cause a reaction and permanently damage your carpet. Second, if you try anything other than the detergent option, test first in a closet for colorfastness. Use a white rag only. Third, remember more is not always better. Drowning a stain can only dilute it and make it spread.

Here’s your answer:

Nail Polish Remover – Two types of nail polish removers are available. One type contains acetone, a dry cleaning solvent. Use the same precautions as with other dry cleaning solutions. The second type contains amyl acetate, which is used in many paint, oil, and grease (POG) removers. Many POG removers leave residues that may cause rapid soiling. When using a POG remover, always rinse the area thoroughly with a dry solvent. (See Residue Precautions.)

Solvent – A non-flammable spot removal solution, or dry cleaning type solvent, is preferred. Exercise caution when using a solvent. Never pour it directly onto the carpet or allow it to reach the backing, because it can damage the latex that holds the primary and secondary backings together. Acceptable solvents include Carbona®, Energine®, K2R®, Goof-Off®, etc.

Detergent Solution – Mix one fourth (1/4) teaspoon of a liquid dishwashing detergent per one (1) cup of lukewarm water. NEVER USE A STRONGER CONCENTRATION! Thorough rinsing is necessary to remove detergent residues that may cause rapid soiling. It may be necessary to rinse with warm water several times to completely remove residues. (See Residue Precautions.) Care should be used in selecting a detergent. Never use a laundry detergent of any type, because laundry detergents may contain optical brighteners (fluorescent dyes) that dye the fiber. Do not select an automatic dishwashing detergent because many contain bleaching agents that destroy dyes and some fibers.

Warm Water – Lukewarm tap water should be used in most cases to rinse the cleaning solutions from the fiber. Failure to completely rinse the solutions from the fiber may cause accelerated soiling.

Ammonia Solution – Mix one (1) tablespoon of household ammonia per cup of water. Please note: Be aware that ammonia, if used improperly, can cause a color change. Be sure to test a hidden area.,%20Lubricating

For more stain solving tips, click here.

Thanks for doing the right thing and asking an expert first!